Heroes and Villains: Boring Chelsea close to title and relegation revivals
It was another cracking weekend of Premier League action, with more twists and surprises occurring in the ruthless battle to avoid relegation, as Hull City and Leicester City both secured crucial away victories.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho’s Blues took a big step towards claiming the title with a goalless draw at the Emirates and, despite being branded as ‘boring’, Chelsea are now just two wins away from domestic success.
Alan Pardew has revived Crystal Palace since arriving from Newcastle United, but Steve Bruce’s Tigers rallied to a vital 2-0 win at Selhurst Park thanks to a delightful double form Dame N’Doye, with Robbie Brady playing a starring role.
Hull’s crucial away triumph came on the back of a six-game winless streak, seeing them climb a point above the drop zone and, with their remaining five matches at the KC Stadium, Bruce will believe his side have every chance of staying up.
Jamie Vardy’s third goal in five outings sent Leicester on their way to three important away points, toppling rock-bottom outfit Burnley 1-0, as Nigel Pearson’s men continued their recent top-flight revival. Luck was on the visitors’ side as Matt Taylor missed from the penalty spot just 59 seconds before Vardy opened proceedings.
The Foxes are now out of the bottom three of table and secured four consecutive top-flight victories for the first time since 1966. Leicester finally look up for the challenge of beating the drop and are a 2/1 chance with Coral to be relegated.
A defensively defiant Chelsea ended Arsenal’s eight-match winning run, as a 0-0 draw helped the Blues edge towards their first domestic silverware success since 2010.
Mourinho rapidly responded to ‘boring’ jibes from the Gunners faithful by claiming: “I think boring is 10 years without a title, that’s boring.”
Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils look likely of securing a top four finish and making a return to Champions League football next season, although, a lack of concentration seen United stumble to a 3-0 thrashing to Everton.
The Toffees have become somewhat of a bogey team for their red rivals in previous campaigns, having lost their last three trips to Goodison Park. United, like in their defeat to Chelsea, were dominant in possession but couldn’t capitalise as Everton remain unbeaten this calendar year.
John Carver’s torrid reign at the St James’ Park helm continued as the Magpies suffered a 3-2 defeat to Swansea City, recording their worst top-flight run for 38 years and they are now just five points adrift of the relegation places.
The hosts actually took the lead through Ayoze Perez but threw it away later in proceedings, with the club suffering their worst run since 1977.
Despite being QPR’s goalscoring hero so far this season, the clinical frontman fluffed his penalty in an eventual goalless stalemate with West Ham United, meaning the R’s are a daunting four points adrift of safety.
Austin has struck 17 goals this current campaign but his spot-kick miss has left Chris Ramsey’s men faltering in 19th position and are now 8/1 to retain their top-flight status.